Statement by Turkey at the “Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to UNRWA”

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 25.06.2018
H.E. Secretary-General, Mr. President, Mr. Commissioner General,
I have the honor to speak today in my country’s dual role, as the incoming Chair of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission (AdCom) and the Chair of the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA.
Since its inception, Turkey has been a staunch advocate of the Agency.
The situation in Palestine remains a source of concern for several reasons.
The already dire conditions of the Palestine refugees have continued to worsen this year.
They deserve more than ever our immediate action.
On our side, we support UNRWA with an increased voluntary contribution.
This year, we advanced and transferred our annual contribution of 1.5 million USD.
At the Ministerial Conference in Rome, we announced and channeled an additional 10 million USD.
We have also increased our yearly flour contribution to 26 thousand tons and granted 1.2 million USD to the World Health Organization for the treatment of the wounded Palestinians during the latest confrontations with Israeli forces.
We recently started our national donation mobilization for Palestine refugees to support the Agency’s “Dignity is Priceless” campaign.
During our AdCom Chairmanship to start on July 1st, we will place a special emphasis to the budget shortfall of UNRWA, including widening of donor basis, establishment of sustainable funds and expand AdCom’s impact from Amman to New York or Geneva.
UNRWA’s vital mission requires stronger commitment and contribution of the international community.
As my distinguished Swiss colleague noted just before me, last year, upon the request of the Secretary-General, we led together an intensive consultation process in search for a durable solution for the Agency’s financial crisis.
The following report by the Secretary General picked up the concrete recommendations of this intense process.
We are pleased to see that some of these concrete steps are materializing.
Bringing to life the Endowment Fund of the World Bank and the Waqf Fund of the Islamic Development Bank will create crucial new avenues for the sustainable financing of the Agency.
As the OIC Summit Chair, I urge all OIC members to support the operationalization of the Waqf Fund, as requested in the OIC Summit Communiqué of 18 May.
We are also pleased to see that UNRWA has established a partnership with several zakat foundations, and has been fundraising during the holy month of Ramadan.

This demonstrates that there is great potential for meaningful collaborations with national NGOs and the private sector across the globe.
I urge all Member States to consider how they can support UNRWA in developing these new and innovative avenues.
While these new initiatives hold much promise, they will not address the full magnitude of UNRWA’s current shortfall.
I therefore call for additional voluntary contributions from Member States, as in the immediate term, only these contributions will address the dramatic deficit and ensure the continuity of critical services for Palestine refugees.

Mr. President,
We, as the Member States, have a collective responsibility to support UNRWA.
Together, we should put UNRWA on a path towards sufficient, predictable and sustained financing to enable the Agency duly fulfil its mandate.
UNRWA is and will continue to be vital not only for the Palestine refugees in its 5 fields of operation, but also for the region and for the world.
Turkey is and will remain a strong advocate.
At this Pledging Conference and beyond, I urge all Member States to consider announcing new or increased contributions, in particular to the programme budget of UNRWA.

Thank you.